Saturday, July 5, 2014

Meet the House Specialist...

...the man who smokes!

...the man with the big cigar!

...the man who reads the posts and just stares at me (I'd like to think he's staring because he's in awe of my genius, but the stare is usually accompanied by a comment like, "You're writing about Spanx in a cigar blog?)

...the man who takes one for the team and smokes all these delicious cigars so I can second-hand smoke them.  (The sacrifices you guys make in the name of love...just staggering.)

It's Valentino!

When did you first start smoking cigars?
Jeez, it had to be in the late 80s.

Do you remember what kind it was?
The Baccarat.  My first box purchase ever. I hated it. I asked the guy at Thomson, or maybe CI, for a recommendation. ::here in the interview is a lot of hand flailing, as the Italians do::  I think I have the box! I don't even remember the flavor. I was new to smoking and I just didn't think they were very good. But then again I didn't know what was not good back then. Oh, plus price. It was definitely a price-conscious purchase back then.

The actual box o' pain and disappointment.

We should give them another try!

Or not.
I really started smoking cigars on golf trips for my work.*  One of the perks were all these free, amazing cigars, and meeting all these great guys who smoked. That's when I really started getting into the whole culture. My go-to back then was Macanudo.

[*I know what you're thinking. Whhhhaaaaa? Where can I get that job? Exactly. --ed]

Say I bought you a box of cigars and, by the way, it's beautifully wrapped because you know that's one of my mad skillz. Before you open the package, what brand and type of cigar are you hoping for? (Not Cubans, because there's no way I could get those without you knowing, since I'd have to ask you to get my passport out of the safe, and then you'd see the flight to and hotel at a place with a La Casa del Habano nearby, and... So, no Cubans. What else?)
'64 Padron Pyramid. Or the Torpedo.  To quote comedian Brian Regan, "They're BOTH favorites."

I would pretend not to see the charges if you wanted to go to a LCDH.

Because you're nice like that. So I'm smuggling Montecristo #2s into the country?
It's not like you haven't done it before.

Whatever, dude. Next question: What do you like most about the cigar community?
Camraderie. How nice everybody is.  You come in, everybody says, "Hello." Not like a regular bar, where people keep to themselves and smoke their cigarettes, hanging in their cliques. In a cigar bar or with a group of cigar smokers hanging around together, you feel like everybody is on the same level. No one is sitting there thinking that they're better than anyone else.  And everyone talks to each other about the cigars they're smoking, which leads to other conversations, and very quickly, friendship.

And everyone's willing to share. Need a lighter or a cutter? Here you go.  And on more than one occasion, someone has mentioned that they have never tried a certain cigar and they're quickly gifted with one.

You handed over one of the beloved Monte #2s once, to someone you didn't even know that well, although we did see him pretty regularly at events sponsored by our tobacconist.
Well, he said he'd never had one.

Of course. You look like you need a smoke.  What are we having? How about a Monte... Just kidding. Kuba Kuba? I'm dying for something sweet.
::stares in that way that makes a girl's Spanx fall off (which is no easy task)::

At LCDH in Falmouth, Jamaica.

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